Diabetes: warning signs and who is at risk

Published 4:41 pm Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Diabetes affects your body’s ability to produce and use insulin which is a hormone that allows glucose (sugar) to get into our body’s cells which use it for energy.

Most people with diabetes never had any warming signals that they had the disease. Extreme thirst and frequent urination, numb and tingling feet, blurry vision, fatigue, weight loss, sores that don’t heal are all signs of diabetes. Don’t wait for these signs, the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi warns.

If you are at risk, see your doctor and get checked.

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People with a family history of diabetes, people who are overweight, over age 40, people who are not very active, and women who had a baby weighing over nine pounds are at the highest risk for developing the disease.

People of African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American/Pacific Islander ancestry are also at high risk.

The Diabetes Prevention Program was a major research study to determine if diet and exercise or oral diabetes medicine could prevent or delay the onslaught of type 2 diabetes in people with pre-diabetes condition called impaired glucose tolerance or IGT.

Results of the study showed diet and exercise sharply reduced the chances that a person with IGT would develop diabetes.

Stay active, advises DFM. Try to keep your body mass index at or below 25 (desirable): If you are 5’7” then your body weight should be no more than 159 pounds.

Reduce the stress in your life, and don’t smoke. But before starting an exercise program always have a physical check up and make blood sugar checks a part of your annual physical.

If you answer yes to one or more of these question, then you are at risk.

– My body mass is great than or equal to 27.

– I have an immediate family member with diabetes.

– I am a member of a high risk ethnic group (listed above)

– (For women) I delivered a baby weighing more than nine pounds.

– I get little or no exercise.

– I am over age 40 with no other risk factors.